Can you claim copyright on a list of words? When it comes to Scrabble, Hasbro seems to think so. This isn't the first time they've filed copyright claims related to the game, though it may not have been so effective.
By securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets. (PDF) [more inside]
SurfTheChannel.com: A Very British Miscarriage Of Justice is a [long - here's an Ars Technica summary] account of the MPAA's investigation of SurfTheChannel's owner Anton Vickerman and the ensuing court case. It was published on http://surfthechannel.com/, but that's now down and given English libel law it probably isn't coming back up. It is, frankly, a harrowing read, although FACT argue to the Guardian that much of what was stated is biased.
Vote Pirate! Notes from a Pirate Party conference. "I grew up on the Internet. … I sort of consider myself a citizen of the Internet. I'm very attached to it. I'm almost more from the Internet than I am from Massachusetts." [more inside]
Amelia Andersdotter of Sweden's Pirate Party (Piratpariet) will finally become the youngest ever member of the European Parliament this December. [more inside]
On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.
American Censorship Day is an internet protest against the oft-renamed Stop Online Piracy Act. [more inside]
The U.S. House of Representatives has drafted their version of Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act, renaming the bill the E-Parasites Act. Among other changes discussed previously, the bill now makes internet service providers and websites liable for activities of their users that infringe upon copyrights, effectively overturning parts of the 13-year-old Digital Millennium Copyright Act.
The once-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) slouches toward signing on Saturday. ACTA is expected to raise constitutional issues in the U.S., raise soverenty issues in the E.U., give copyright holders extensive powers to impose DRM and identify alleged infringers, and increase health risks worldwide. In addition, the U.S. has launched the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) to obtain what copyright provisions were stripped from ACTA. (see michaelgeist.ca, techdirt, or slashdot) [more inside]
Senator Leahy's Protect IP Act would require that U.S. ISPs impose an 'internet death penalty' upon domain after merely a preliminary injunction from a U.S. court that suspects the site of being 'dedicated to infringing activities', even if the domain's owner had never been notified and was not subject to U.S. jurisdiction. There is concern that the legislation would fragment the DNS system and facilitate DNS spoofing by obstructing DNSSEC (pdf). There is also an open letter opposing the bill signed by 108 Law Professors who study intellectual property law. [more inside]
"On Saturday June 18, 2011, representatives from the licensing agency came to watch our production. I met them before the show and explained the reasons behind my actions and that I understood the consequences. The cast was also prepared. We could have restored the production to the original script, we could have canceled the show and left them to wonder, we could have faked a medical emergency or technical failure – believe me, all of these scenarios crossed my mind. In the end, we chose to be honest and share the production we had created." Artistic director Nick A. Olivero writes an open letter to the theatre and arts community discussing the recent forced closure of his show, Little Shop of Horrors, at San Fransisco's Boxcar Theatre Company. [more inside]
Don't Make Me Steal - a Digital Media Consumption Manifesto.
Stop Fashion Piracy! Senator Chuck Schumer and ten co-sponsers have introduced the Innovative Design Protection and Piracy Prevention Act (Govtrack). Similar to legislation from previous Congressional sessions, this would extend copyright protection to fashion designs. Currently, the fashion industry does have trademark protection, which allows legal recourse for designers and brands to go after counterfeiting, but designs and concepts are free to be imitated. The bill has the support of the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the American Apparel and Footwear Association. This is the cumulation of a multi-year effort to extend copyright protections to fashion designers (that included sidestops where they tried to co-opt Michelle Obama into their efforts and where one of the top fashion copyright proponents gets caught copying other people's designs), and would change an industry that historically has worked within a dramatically different culture from other creative industries. [more inside]
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has shut down nine websites in connection with an ongoing crackdown on internet film and TV piracy. The sites seized are Movieslinks.tv, Planetmoviez.com, ZML.com, Thepiratecity.org, Filespump.com, TVShack.net, Now-Movies.com, NinjaThis.net, and NinjaVideo.net. The feds also seized related Paypal accounts and bank accounts as part of the operation. Ninjavideo was the most notorious of the group, and its admin, Phara, went so far as to record a manifesto in praise of internet piracy.
The Obama administration's proposed internet sections of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) have been leaked, the analysis says it's very bad. [more inside]
The Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act has added a whole other dimension to the term "copyright infringement." Sponsored by the US entertainment industry, it allows seizure of assets before the accused is found guilty and the creation of a new executive branch led by an "Intellectual Property Czar" who would report directly to the President on IP crimes--similar to the Drug Czar of the War on Drugs. Financial penalties for copyright crimes have increased dramatically. More information here, and a summary of critiques here. Is this a useful addition to the War On Copyright Infringement or just more bureaucratic red tape?
While Courtney pulled an Albini, Jeff handed out the bread. Are the peasants acting like emperors, or do they still want something shiny, aluminum, plastic, and digital? Debacle or cage, something's got to give (pdf). Alternatively, you can just roll your own.
Fair Use and "Digital Environmentalism" - NYU journalism head Robert Boynton reviews four recent books (the 4th) about intellectual property and the public domain.
Selling a used item as a copyright infringement? Used knitting patterns are often resold by the original buyer when they've used them. "Alice Starmore(R)" is a company that makes patterns and yarns for knitters. Ebay is a big clearinghouse for knitters, and "Alice Starmore(R)" has repeatedly insisted that ANY auction of their yarns or patterns be pulled as the auctions violate their trademark and/or copyrights. So the knitters are getting a defense fund together to claim anti-trust and restraint of trade. Didn't we sort this all out over selling used books and cd's already? You really shouldn't mess with people who have a hobby that makes them adept with big metal needles. (BTW Alice Starmore is from the Hebrides, hence the whole "KnittingBeyond..." business.)
Left Gets Nod from Right on Copyright Law - A darling of the conservative movement, federal Judge Richard Posner criticizes the Sonny Bono Act and attacks the Patent and Trademark Office for granting "very questionable" business method patents at a lecture organized by the American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution. (via How Appealing)
aw, so sweet... it seems lately that everyone's first response to copyright and trademark infringement is to jump down the offender's throat and rip their guts out. this company just corrects the spelling of their name and sends presents.
Where am I going, and why am I in this handbasket? What's happening to copyright law lately, why, why ignoring it may well be the best thing to do to fix it, and why Mickey Mouse is a Yakuza. Very nice piece from (former?) EFF Legal Counsel Mike Godwin
Does the Star Trek Coffee pose a threat to Starbucks?